UEFA Euro 2012: Poland & Ukraine

Referee Review

Carlos Velasco Carballo (Spain)


By Adam Higgins

Chief Football Editor 

Age-  41             FIFA Referee since-  2008             Promoted to the Elite List-  2009             La Liga referee since 2004

Season 2011-12:      Matches-  29        Yellow cards-  178         Red cards-  16          Penalties-  11

Best game of the season:  21st February 2012       UEFA Champions League Last 16 1st leg        Napoli 3-1 Chelsea
                                    Venue:  Stadio Sao Paulo (Naples, Italy)

Our average rating from Euro 2012:  14.5/20 (7.25/10)

Euro 2012 statistics-   Matches-  2        Yellow cards-  3         Red cards-  2       Penalties-  1      Average cards per game- 2.50

Best game of the tournament:  Sunday 17th June       Group B Game Three         Denmark 1-2 Germany

                                          Arena Lviv, Lviv (Ukraine)

One man who has steered clear of controversy and emerged in recent years as one of the best and most consistent referees in Spain is Carlos Velasco Carballo, who was voted by the Spanish Football Association as the top referee in La Liga in the 2010-11 campaign having started the season as the country's fourth best official. Referees in Spain have a tendency to blow their whistles for the slightest of infringements in a league where an overly physical approach is discouraged. However, Mr Carballo has shown that he can adapt his style when he is assigned a game in Europe and certainly tried to show this in Poland & Ukraine. Among referees, he is renowned for allowing the game to flow and also for doing homework on players who he will take charge of in particular those with a habit of unsettling opponents with their tricks and ones who like a sneaky foul or two. He is on the 52 man shortlist for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, however, he will be the first to admit that Euro 2012- his first major international tournament as a referee- didn't go according to plan from his personal point of view. The former industrial engineer, chosen as Spain's representative in Poland and Ukraine ahead of the more experienced Undiano Mallenco, was given the unique honour and privelege of officiating the opening match of the tournament between co-hosts Poland and 2004 European Championship winners Greece at the glittering new National Stadium in Warsaw. The match was being watched by nearly 57,000 fans inside the arena as well as an estimated worldwide television audience of 80 million people so it was a huge amount of pressure placed upon the 41-year old to get the tournament off to a good start on the officiating front. Inside the first 45 minutes, there were a host of soft free-kicks awarded with the referee struggling to get a grip and control on the match. The whistle was being blown every few minutes for something and nothing while the red card was out just before half-time. Greece defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos was shown a yellow card midway through the half for climbing on the back of the tall Polish forward Robert Lewandowski- a foul that is never usually penalised with a yellow card unless it has been persistent which it hadn't been. It was the centre-back's first offence and his name had been taken for it. The Spanish man in the middle then gave him his marching orders when he slipped and marginally collided with Murawski, barely touching him and he wasn't in control of his actions. The attack wasn't leading anywhere whatsoever. It was harsh- and everyone from a neutral perspective was fearing the worst for the tournament as a whole. It was a dangerous move from the referee who looked to have set a precedent for fouls which the other eleven officials looked to follow. Then came the more obvious dismissal of Poland goalkeeper Wojech Szczesny for bringing down a clean-through Greek striker Dimitris Salpingidis who tried to go round the Arsenal shotstopper. A penalty was correctly given and the red card was out once more despite the contact again being minimal. The spotkick was missed and he managed to stay out of the limelight for the rest of the game which was certainly an eventful one for him. His second match was less so although he had to wait nine days for it suggesting that UEFA were displeased by his display in such an important fixture. Denmark versus Germany in their final Group B clash in Lviv which was oversaw, thankfully for Mr Carballo, without any controversy or issues for anybody to analyse or scrutise negatively. It was a nothing sort of match which was decided by a Lars Bender goal which put the Germans through whilst eliminating the unfortunate Danes. It was announced that Carlos Velasco Carballo hadn't made the cut in terms of the eight referees staying on for the quarter-final stage meaning the Spaniard was one of four officials packing his bags- it was a tournament which on the whole didn't go his way and he must have hoped for better. A promising official none the less, who took charge of the 2011 Europa League final in Dublin.

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